The Biggest Obstacle for Women Renovators

The podcast for women who want to create income and a life they love through renovating

Join serial renovator Bernadette Janson as she explores the ins and outs of renovating for profit!

Bernadette has over 30 years of experience in the renovating for profit business. She’s a registered nurse, a renovator, a mum, and a teacher.

12 – Day 5: 14 Days To A New Bathroom

On today’s episode,

Bernadette is on Day 5 of the series 14 Days To A New Bathroom focusing mainly on hand basins. She will discuss the important things you need to plan for before choosing your basins and the different types of basins you need to know about to help you plan for the look you want to achieve for your bathroom renovation.

This episode is a part of a 14-Day mini-series on Bathroom Renovations.

Listen to Day 5: 14 Days To A New Bathroom 

Bernadette covers,

  • The most important thing to consider when selecting hand basins
  • How having double basins can add a wow factor to your bathroom
  • Mirrors in their most useful place near the hand basins
  • When using your hand basins
  • The four main types of hand basins
  • How to choose the correct type of hand basin


Well hello! It’s Bernadette back with our mini series: 14 Days To A Beautiful New Bathroom. And today we’re going to be talking about hand basins.

So the first thing to consider when you’re selecting hand basins for your bathroom renovation is how much space you have. If you’ve got oodles of space then you might want to consider putting in double basins. This is not just a great wow factor but it’s also a great time saving feature. Because you can have two people completing their ablutions at the same time and it’s also a touch of luxury to see double basins with double tapware and an expensive vanity. It’s a really lovely look.

But if you don’t have oodles of space and you’re quite space challenged, you probably need to think about the size and the type of basin you choose if it’s going to be best for your situation. Another thing to consider before you start going out to shop is the position of the base and so where are you going to position it in the bathroom? Often a basin can be placed under a window, which is quite nice. However, it means that you can’t put a mirror in front of it so that can be a bit challenging. Because the things that you do at the basin require a mirror, shaving putting on makeup, doing your hair.

And so if the best place for the basin is under the window then you’ve got to think about how you’re going to place the mirrors. So that it is useful and that can determine the type of basin you go for. So there are four main types of basins and I’m going to step through them with some tips and some things to think about when you’re choosing.

The first one is the wall hung basin. This is a basin that’s fixed directly to the wall, so there is no cabinet underneath it and it’s quite good with properties or bathrooms where you have really tight access. Because you don’t have the bulk of a vanity or a bench top taking up space.

It has a few drawbacks in that there’s usually there’s no storage underneath and also that the plumbing underneath is exposed. So if you’re going for this type of basin you need to also select a decorative bubble trap which is a plumbing arrangement that’s in a metal that matches your tapware. So if you’re doing that stainless steel or chrome tapware, you want to go for the same sort of bubble trap. Funnily enough the PVC just doesn’t cut it.

Okay. And the other thing about the wall hung basin, is generally there is no counter space around the basin, which makes it quite tricky. We have at times use wall hung basins that do actually have that, are quite wide and have the basin on one side and some counter space on the other.

But certainly in one of our most recent renos, one in Bondi we converted the laundry into an en suite and it was very tight, space wise. And so we had to go for the smallest wall hung basin. That we could get, that would fit in the space, but of course we had to make other arrangements, so that we did have storage and also a leisure ledge. So there was some landing’s spaces for product and toothbrushes and so on. Because otherwise it’s just not practical. Actually I’ll add an image of that particular reno or bathroom reno into the show notes, just so that you can see what I mean.

Okay, So the next type of basin which is also a space saving basin, is these semi recessed. And so what happens with that, is that half of the basin is in the bench top and the other half protrudes up forward. So it’s half on the bench top and half off. Now they use to allow more space in tight floor plans, you often see them in commercial applications.

However, I personally feel that they are a bit dated and they’re also quite expensive. Not so much in the basin itself, but in the configuration. So you absolutely have to have custom made joinery to work with it. So it all adds up. If you can manage the storage arrangements, I’d tend to go for wall hung rather than semi recessed, if you can manage it.

So the third is my favourite which is the above counter basin. So it sits on top of a bench top and usually a vanity. Some sit high, like quite high and then others have quite a slim profile. So it depends on the look you’re going for.

You want to make sure that when you are planning for one of these types of basins that you adjust the height of the bench top to accommodate the height of the base. So the top edge of the basin should be around 900 mm from the finished floor level. If your basin was integrated into the bench top then you would have the bench top at 900 mm. But if you got a basin, a bench top basin that is about a 150 mill high then you’ll need to drop the height of the vanity to accommodate that. Otherwise you’ll end up with the basin that’s too high.

And it’s really important to keep your dimensions to sort of standard heights. I know some tall people who’ve changed their countertop dimensions to suit their height, which is fine if you’re going to live in the house forever, but it can be a bit of a negative if you’re planning to sell the property at any stage.

Now the thing with bench top basin is that you actually need a bench top to put it on. It’s another thing that you have to pay for. In our most recent reno, we actually had the vanity made to fit the width, the dimensions of the basin exactly, so we didn’t require a stone bench top. We didn’t really do that as a cost saving exercise. It was really more for the look so there was a shadow line between the top drawer of the basin of the vanity and the bottom edge of the basin. But it was a really nice clean finish, because there was no stone in between. So the vanity sort of morphed into the basin and looked really nice and clean lines.

Then the next type is the undermount basin. So that’s where your bench top is cut to allow the basin to sit underneath, it’s more of a minimal look, very modern look. So of course you need to think about your tapware as well. How that’s going to work? But I’ll talk about tapware more when I get on to that episode. That can be quite expensive as well, because you have to have a stone bench top and the undermount will cost you an extra probably around $300. But if that’s the look you’re going for, that modern minimalist look. It’s a very nice uncluttered look and you need to make sure that you buy the appropriate basin for that.

The last thing I want to say about choosing a basin is that I really like to go for a really wide basin. Because if I can’t fit double basins in, I think a nicely size basin 600 or 700 mm wide is a great addition to a bathroom. It gives a bit of wow and also a bit of luxury, because you’ve got all that space. Two people can still use that basin at once without being sort of cluttered and you can actually go for one basin with two lots of taps or double taps. I’ve actually done that before and it looks really cool.

In fact I will share an image of that as well.

Okay so just to recap.

The size of the bathroom will determine the type and number of basins and you need to consider the position of the basin before you go out buying. You want to make sure that you are able to put a mirror in a place that’s useful near the basin and that you have sufficient storage and counter space or landing spots so that you can keep product and toothbrushes etc close by. The four main types are wall hung, semi recessed, above counter, and the undermount basin. Make your selection based on the size of the bathroom and also on the look that you’re looking for.

And lastly if you can’t fit double basins in for a luxury look, go for a wider base in with double taps. So I hope that helps you in making some decisions about the basins for your bathroom.

In our next episode. We’re going to be talking about the toilet and I’d like to think this is the first ever podcast episode on toilets but I’m sure it’s not. But anyhow I look forward to seeing you then.

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    Amazing Free Content!LeaLea707 via Apple Podcasts · Australia · 05/22/22
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    “I have been listening to this Podcast for a few years now. I love how Bernadette freely shares her experiences and knowledge of renovating and how to create wealth through property. There are many people out there doing a similar things but Bernadette is the real deal. Her down to earth approach reasonates with me and I’ve learned lots from her. I’d highly recommend She Renovates!”
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    “I've been binge-listening to this podcast for the past week and it's absolutely brilliant. Bernadette has amassed so much knowledge and wisdom about renovating and she shares it generously and in a really easy to understand way that's inspired me to give it a go. Her advice is practical and I love that she approaches renovating in a really ethical and open-hearted way. Every episode honestly is gold. I also love that each episode is quite short and addresses a specific topic without any waffle. Thank you so much for this podcast!”
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    “Hands down best renovation podcast there is. There’s no scams or tricks here and Bernadette provides honest and practical advice that you can actually apply to your life. There’s also great insights into the property industry (not just renovating) and Bernadette’s simple approach gives you tools to mitigate risk and fuels confidence to start your own projects.”
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    “Bernadette is an inspiration. Warm, open and a fountain of wisdom and advice. I’ve learned so much about everything from renovating to selling to creating an independent future from this podcast. Look forward to every episode!”
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    “If you need to break through any of your limitations to find the joy and success in renovation, Bernadette is your inspiration and advisor with decades of experience. Her down to earth, practical style of sharing what works and how to keep control of any renovating project is worth tuning in for - week after week. I have done a few renovations in the (distant) past and now feel motivated to go again, this time for a change of pace and new horizons. This podcast shows the way. Thanks Bernadette, James Burgin”
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    “Just dropping by to show my support for your podcast Bernadette. I look forward to each episode and I am never disappointed with the content. It’s such a generous offering and compared to many of the other property podcasts I subscribe to, yours is the clear winner. Perfectly suited to people embarking on a new renovator journey but equally suited to more experienced folk like myself - there’s something for everyone. Keep up the great work. Your honesty is so refreshing! I look forward to future learning and hearing more student success stories. Best, David Michos (And yes... a bloke) 😉”
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    “If you have any interest at all in renovating, you would be crazy not to listen to every episode! As someone who has done many courses and a project manager by trade, i learn something every time. Bernadette is so genuine and generous and totally relatable. Do yourself a favour and subscribe now !”

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